In a land distant both in time and place,
the most sacred object is a butterfly net
with big holes in it—symbolizing happiness.
For, you see, we spend so long chasing happiness
and then, having captured it, we try
to embrace it with both our arms
and hold it close to our hearts,
yet it wriggles free from our clutches
and flies far away,
leaving us only with precious recollections
of our momentary encounter
to sustain us for the rest of our lives.
Perhaps it is just as well it escapes our grasp,
for it is so fragile and delicate
that were we to grab its gossamer wings
with our crude, clumsy fingers
we would damage it at once beyond repair.
And so it is better we are granted
a fleeting glimpse at happiness
rather than mangling it
and destroying forever its magic.